Sunday, July 30, 2017

WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS: The Marriage of Brian and Jenny Kirby

Saying "I do!" The vows witnessed by Jesse and Peter

Sitting on the pier in Hastings this Sunday afternoon in the face of a mighty wind, drinking coffee that is fast going cold, eating cake, I can feel the sea beneath me crashing; I can see it through the gaps of the decking.
It’s lovely to mull over the good things that have happened the past few days – all associated with Brian and Jenny’s wedding.
I think of the baby that I blessed in his mother Evelyn's womb; the baby born whom I have always loved and, so present was I in his first few days that some of the nurses thought I was his dad.
I think of the boy, the youth who always retained a kind of innocent wonder, having a truly loving and lovable nature.
And I see the man standing at the top of St. Joseph’s church – waiting for his bride to arrive. The excited nervousness of him!
When Jenny finally arrives, fairly much on time, accompanied by her mother Frances and she and Brian hold hands there is already a sense of completeness. The joy they take in each other is obvious and inspiring. I feel very emotional every time I look at them.
With the help of Roisin I went looking for quotes about love in Harry Potter because I had heard that Jenny is a big fan. In one of the Harry Potter books Albus Dumbledore uses this quote from Jesus “Where your treasure is there will be your heart also”
The treasure is the thing you love most in life, the thing that captures your heart and mind and soul, the pearl without price that you would do anything to get your hands on. The treasure is not a thing at all, not even a priceless pearl – the treasure is a person, the person you love most in the entire world.
In the wider context of our Christian faith, our treasure is also a person, the person of Jesus and our life is an infinite searching and discovering the mystery of who He is, the mystery that is most especially experienced in the wonder of the Eucharist. The pearl of great price is His Word, it is the Wisdom sought by young King Solomon, a discerning heart that knows how to choose what is good over what is evil, a heart that understands the right direction to be taken on the path of life.
Brian and Jenny have found their treasure in each other, they have captured each other’s mind and heart and soul and body.
Their love for each other is a beautiful thing to behold and, if I were to go looking for evidence of God’s existence, I see that evidence in both of them, in the quality of their love. It is a holy and a sacred thing. Where there is love there is God because God is Love.
The oddest things come into my mind in the silence of prayer. When I was praying for Brian and Jenny down in Mervue Church the day before the wedding, there came into my mind two characters from an animated movie about Noah’s Ark. They are Nestrians who can never settle anywhere and they end up on Noah’s Ark trying to escape the Flood. But they also end up falling into the waters of the Flood, and it’s when they are submerged in the water that they suddenly realize that this is actually where they belong, this is where they can breathe.
I believe in some way both Jenny and Brian have been going around in life not fully knowing where they belong or to whom they belong. Then suddenly they find each other at critical times in their lives and discover that they can actually breathe in a way that they never did before because they are each other’s atmosphere. They help each other to flourish and to thrive.
When a couple bring their relationship, their love to the altar they are expressing it in its purest form, bringing it to a new level, to the level of the Divine and they receive from God  the gift of His blessing and the promise that He will be with them all their days.
Theirs is a relationship that is unique, as unique as each of them is in the design of God. They have begun something new that belongs only to them and to no one else. Only they can determine together what their life will be from here on.
The beauty and challenge of loving is there in the two readings – the beauty of being loved by God as Jesus himself is loved (John 15); the demands of loving each other in the same way.  What St. Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 13  and read with such meaning by Jenny's aunt Josie – “love is always patient and kind” – is not just something to be aspired to. It is something that Brian and Jenny are already capable of. The capacity for a love that is divine is within all of us.

Brian couldn't wait to walk his Bride down the aisle!

To quote Albus Dumbledore again, “You are protected by your ability to love!” Love is our protection, our strength. Loving and being loved by another; being loved by the Original Other who is God.

It was a great, great day! Families and friends coming together in one great expression of happiness, a happiness encapsulated by the children who ran and ran all day long and danced their little legs off into the night.
There were Jenny’s young cousins – all boys - from California and England. I spotted and overheard them in conversation with Katie, Alex and Laura. It was like a stand-off in the animal kingdom, male facing female. And they were arguing about Donald Trump! Katie expressing her indignation, her dislike of him, the American boys defending their President!
Eventually they forgot President Trump and their stand-off and spent much of the day chasing each other!
Coming back to my new home yesterday I was amused to hear a conversation between two young men on the bus at Gatwick airport. They were talking about weddings. Wedding speeches specifically! One of them was all for proper speeches and he was lamenting the shortness of those given at a recent wedding. He could not believe that all the speeches were over in 12 minutes. 
Well, at Brian and Jenny’s they probably lasted 10 minutes, including a wonderful slideshow put together by Peter, best man, cousin and as much a brother! The brevity was an expression of the simplicity that marked this wedding that had no excesses. The only flowers were those of Jenny and her lovely bridesmaid Jesse who is Jenny's only sister. It meant that what matters most was most in evidence.

Everyone at the reception loved the band and great praise was given to the frontman but I found him too intimidating and the music too loud so I retreated to the foyer and to conversations in which I could hear and be heard. Musically I am much more at home with the tranquility and joy of what Har and Rose played and sang during the Mass. And of course there was the lovely solo given by Katie on the violin during the signing of the register.

Lilies Of The Field by John Michael Talbot (Song)

A friend recently gave me this poem and I heard it read today on BBC4's 'Something Understood', so it seems appropriate to quote it here.
THE BRIGHT FIELD by RS Thomas
I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
The field is the reality of our life as it is right now and sometimes that reality is like a pile of rubble, a complete mess. What we have to do then is to dig and search beneath the rubble for the treasure that is there, the pearl of great price. And in digging through the rubble we are reminded of another encouraging Word of Wisdom from St. Paul's letter to the Romans 8:28, "God turns all things to good with those who love Him!" With God every disaster contains within it the possibility for good. This is our hope in challenging times.

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